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Catriona O’Dwyer

Managing Director at O’Dwyer Walsh Recruitmentcatriona o'dwyer

I always had an interest in law. Having originally completed an undergrad and Masters in Business Studies, I took the plunge and completed the FE1 preparatory courses (Griffith College) while also working full time as an Executive Administrative Assistant in The Distance Learning Unit, UCD.

Experience

I knew that I needed practical experience in a law firm to enhance my prospects of securing an apprenticeship. I was fortunate to obtain work as a Legal Executive with O’Donnell Sweeney (now Eversheds) and as a float legal secretary with William Fry. Thereafter, I ultimately secured an apprenticeship with Sweeney McGann Solicitors in Limerick where I gained fantastic experience with a great firm.

Career Change

Although I enjoyed law I felt that I may not yet have found the position that fully utilised my skillset. Luckily, I noticed an advertisement for a Legal Recruitment Consultant with a well-known recruitment company. In terms of a career choice I have thankfully never looked back.

New Business

Since becoming a mother for the first time over a year ago, life changed a lot so my work life balance had to adapt. I set up my own Legal and Company Secretarial Recruitment consultancy business, O’Dwyer Walsh Recruitment (www.odw.ie). I now recruit professionals at all levels for both legal and accounting practices of all sizes and in house departments. My company works with a broad range of domestic and international industry sector clients to fill vacancies in Ireland and abroad. Setting up my own business is the best and the biggest career decision I have ever made.

Advice

Make the most of opportunities:

  • Get exposure to as many different practice areas as you can to figure out what is of most interest to you.
  • Ask a colleague if you can assist them with work you are interested in – most likely they won’t say no. The skills I gained from my apprenticeship have been completely transferable to my current career in terms of legal knowledge, negotiation, business development, time management and people skills (to name but a few!).
  • It’s never too late to change or embark on something new (even if it’s simply a new practice area) but you do need to be proactive to facilitate the transition. Don’t just wait for things to happen – make it happen. 

Other Stories

For other career success stories, see Career Spotlight.